TED Talk of the Day #019: How do you explain consciousness?

Event: TED2014
Speaker: David Chalmers
Bio: In his work, David Chalmers explores the “hard problem of consciousness” — the quest to explain our subjective experience.

I totally identify with the speaker. I struggle to even BEGIN conversation on consciousness because people jump to analysis and theories DRIVEN BY RUSH OF MIND and not consciousness.

Mind is SECONDARY. EXPERIENCE is primary. Obvious? Debatable? Usually this is difficult to explain. Here is an another attempt to explain in 3 simple steps:

  1. We are CONSCIOUS BEINGS. This is THE FIRST STEP: Our connection to reality BEGINS with Consciousness.
  2. As we experience reality, a thought (usually a series) pops up somehow – like a pop-up on your computer screen. This is THE SECOND STEP: Mind.
  3. Next, our body feels the experience through the senses & Brain. This is THE THIRD STEP: Body.

Science SEES this as REVERSE. I see this as Consciousness -> Mind -> Body.

Science BEGINS with body and STOPS at body. Believe it or not, modern science REFUSES TO recognize Consciousness and Mind (except few rare scientists). But why blame the scientists? At their level, THEY ARE RIGHT because science depends on measurement and there is NO EQUIPMENT yet to deal with Consciousness and Mind.

But, what about us, especially in the eastern and more spiritual part of the globe? Here, we at least take the SECOND step to acknowledge our minds as distinct from body and brain. BUT, MOST OF US STOP AT THIS SECOND STEP. We are obsessed with the mind! Addicted!

What is really interesting is that CONSCIOUSNESS IS THE FIRST LEVEL – DIRECTLY AVAILABLE AND ACCESSIBLE WITHOUT ANY BARRIERS! But, we TOTALLY ignore it and jump to MIND. Again, it might be unfair to blame people. Scientists who are venturing to talk about Consciousness ADMIT THAT IT IS A HARD PROBLEM! The speaker says:

“Understanding consciousness is a real key, I think, both to understanding the universe and to understanding ourselves.”

When you begin explaining this to people, they confuse this with attention, meditation, focus, karma, free will, etc. The speaker offers a scientific solution which might sound crazy to regular scientists:

“The first crazy idea is that consciousness is fundamental. … .If you can’t explain consciousness in terms of the existing fundamentals — space, time, mass, charge — then as a matter of logic, you need to expand the list. The natural thing to do is to postulate consciousness itself as something fundamental, a fundamental building block of nature.”

MUCH LATER, in this millenium, maybe Science will accept this crazy idea. However, that should not STOP US NOW from EXPERIENCING OUR CONSCIOUSNESS IN FULLY GLORY! You and I are PURE CONSCIOUSNESS – available HERE AND NOW as DIRECT EXPERIENCE.

For science or scientific instruments it may be a HARD PROBLEM – for us, shouldn’t it be the EASIEST AND MOST NATURAL THING IN THE WORLD? Because we already have am instrument to experience consciousness. That perfect instrument is our Body.

Agree? Disagree? Would love to know more about your EXPERIENCE OF CONSCIOUSNESS! Please do share – but, no theories (I already have the list!). Only Experience please – if you have been able to experience it DISTINCT from the mind.

List of previous videos at https://sharebooks.org/category/videos/


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